The most difficult words I have ever heard from a doctor are, YOU HAVE CANCER. At first, I’m not sure I really heard what he said. I had been ill for several years and was told by my doctor he could find nothing wrong, it was just a woman ‘thing’. The problem was he wasn’t looking in the right place for the answer. A dear, dear friend watched me go through days of terrible pain each month, saw my abdomen swell like I was pregnant, knew that it was very difficult for me to stand from a sitting position, and said this has to stop. Please make an appointment with my doctor for a second opinion. So I did. The doctor’s first words were are you pregnant? I knew I wasn’t but she determined to do an ultrasound. During the ultrasound, where I could see the screen, the specialist asked if I could see the surface of a very large tumor. Yes, I could but I didn’t really know what I was seeing. He explained that what looked like chicken fat was actually cancer growing. Still numb from that experience, I got dressed and sat down in his office with my husband and waited for more information and a plan of action.
Life changed rapidly for me in the next few minutes. His first question was, is your life in order? Do you have a living will? Will your job allow 3 months off? On a Tuesday I went for a simple ultrasound so see what was going on. The next Friday I would have major surgery. I had 3 days to prepare.
After Ray and I digested, discussed, and yes, denied, we contacted our pastor, family, and close friends to let them know what was happening and to start lifting us up in prayer. At 5:30 AM, that Friday, I was at the hospital, ready to go. (Well kind of…) The surgery lasted around 5 hours and when all was said and done he came out to speak with Ray. His sense of humor was evident when he said he had successfully delivered an 8 and 1/2 pound tumor and the patient was doing well.
I’m not even going to talk about the pain from that type of invasive surgery. Let’s just say it was intense.
The next morning I was ready to start recovering. That my friends was a long, slow, road. Lifting anything heavier than a glass of orange juice was forbidden for several weeks. Since the pressure had finally been released from my spine I would have to begin the process of walking. Since we live a small community, the neighbors would wait and congratulate me as I was able to walk to another driveway each week. I was not allowed to be alone for long periods of time and driving was out of the question.
God allowed me to go through this so that I could help others who would face the same diagnosis. Here are some things I learned in the process of healing. A listening, non-judgemental ear is an awesome, healing gift. Don’t tell someone you understand unless you’ve experienced the same struggle. Sometimes, your presence is all that’s needed. Silence can be the greatest gift of all.
Bad things do happen to good people, but God really doesn’t give us more than we can handle together. More than 20 years ago I discovered His strength is there when I have none of my own. Our God is an awesome God!
Blessings to you and yours!